Cobra Triangle is a single-player game developed by Rare for the Nintendo Entertainment System following the success of their previous game, R.C. Pro-Am. Similar to R.C. Pro-Am, this game is an action racing game in the isometric perspective, though instead of cars the game features boats. The overall objective of Cobra Triangle is to complete all the missions in a given amount of time while avoiding obstacles such as sharks, jumps, waterfalls, enemy land guns, and enemy boats.
- Racing against the clock through obstacle filled scrolling levels.
- Racing opposing boats.
- Protecting stranded people from boats taking them.
- Collecting mines to deposit them in a detonation area.
- Fighting enemy bosses.
- Jump the waterfalls.
- Bonus levels to shoot the targets.
There are 25 stages in the game, including bonus stages. Each series of five generally contains one of each type of mission. The fifth are generally the boss stages. The bosses are a sea serpent (as seen on the cover), a giant crab, a giant squid, a red and black version of the sea serpent and a giant shark.
The game uses a powerup bar similar to the Gradius series. Powerup pods are collected to move the selector to different powerup items. When the desired powerup is highlighted, the player can select it, after which the menu returns to an unhighlighted state. Menu options are Turbo (increase the speed of the boat), Fire (increase the number of bullets the primary gun fires), Speed (increase speed of shots and rate of fire), Missile (improves missiles) and Force (a force field around the boat plus replenished health).
The Cobra Class Speed Boat which is used for game play starts with a single gun which can be upgraded to a quadruple spread shot. Missiles can also be added to the boat's arsenal and can be upgraded to heat-seekers. Between stages which are not connected by water, the Cobra Class has a helicopter style propeller that extends from the roof of the cabin. However, this flying state of the boat is never used in gameplay. The boat has a 12-point damage bar which can be reduced by contact with obstacles or enemy fire.
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